1st Timothy 3:1 Faithful is the saying, If a man desires the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.
We will see the apostles never ordained solo pastors or a priest over the churches.
The responsibility of an overseer is to watch over, protect, and feed the flock of God.
Sad to say that today most "elders" are yes-men to a pastor and the "sheep" are meat for their table. The sheep are rarely defended but the wolves and hirelings usually are.
(bishop means simply "overseer")
2 The bishop therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, orderly, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3 no brawler, no striker; but gentle, not contentious, no lover of money;
4 one that rules well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5 (but if a man does not know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6 not a novice, lest being puffed up he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7 Moreover he must have good testimony from them that are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. 1Tim. 3:1-7
Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that you should set in order the things needed, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed you:
The qualifications for those elders that are to be the "overseers" of the churches:
6) if any man is blameless, husband of one wife, having children that believe not accused of riot or unruly.
7) For the bishop must be blameless, as God`s steward; not self-willed, not soon angry, no brawler, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre;
8) but given to hospitality, as lover of good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled;
9) holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict the opposers.
1) The elders among you I who am a fellow-elder exhort, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, who am also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
2) Tend the flock (i.e. feed the flock) of God which is among you, exercising oversight, not of constraint, but willingly, according to the will of God; nor yet for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
3) neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves ensamples to the flock.
In our 24 years of church involvement and leadership, we never heard these taught or reviewed in regard to the people who were appointed or put in places of leadership.
This is example of how the church departs from scripture as church leaders are usually those who demonstrate loyalty, financial support, natural gifts for speaking, or a willingness to support and volunteer.Pastors are hired.
We also see that among the elders that minister, no one office such as the pastor, prophet, or apostle, is given pre-eminence above the rest. Notice that no titles are mentioned for those exercising oversight of the churches in these qualifications which apply equally to all ministries and the elders.
equitable, fair, mild, gentle
That is posturing as not to be withstood, acting as invincible, and abstaining from fighting whether it be with WORDS or ACTIONS.
curbing one's desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate.
of those who seem to themselves to be righteous, who pride themselves to be righteous, who pride themselves in their virtues, whether real or imagined
innocent, faultless, guiltless
"The elders among you I exhort, who am a fellow-elder", the elders are to:
of rulers (overseers)
to furnish pasture for food
to cherish one's body, to serve the body
to supply the requisites for the soul's need
to look upon, inspect, oversee, look after, take care of the church which rested upon the elders, to look carefully after, beware in regard to protect
Deacons were not the titled, name tagged folks with offering plates in the original church.
They were more typically the hosts of the people who met in their homes and they were servants to the church.
"seven men of good report, full of the Spirit and of wisdom",
And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus a proselyte of Antioch;
And Stephen, full of grace and power, wrought great wonders and signs among the people.
In Summary: we have given the direct instructions and meanings from the scriptures for those holding "positions" in the church. It is very convicting to realize how far our old churches had departed from God's Word on this. Do you realize a pastor is not above correction? Pastors were only one ministry among God's people, they were not singled out as the head of the church.
This is not a life of managing, giving orders, adjusting the thermostat, making announcements, governing as a CEO.
He might be an apostle, he might be a prophet, he might be a teacher, he might be a pastor.
He may be a matured saint in life and spiritual experience.
These older ones knew how to love, to care for and to feed God's sheep.
It was not a job for the power-hungry or those seeking position or special privileges.
It was not a call to showcase our name, knowledge, or personality.
It is not a call for those who crave the pre-eminence in an assembly.
The church at Ephesus Paul spoke to in Acts 20, was overseen by elders, not one man.
The pre-eminent pastors and Nicolaitanes Paul warned about would come later.
He called them "wolves", they would do the very things Paul told them not to do.
If the church did not follow the scriptures, a wolf could come right in and explain why the scriptural qualifications did not mean what they said.
It happens every day.